What retail examples have you come across where businesses deliberately try, not to obsure, but rather to simplify the experience for you especially with the basics?
Given how busy, time pressed, and stressed we are as we deal with greater complexity from every perspective, I'm surprised that I don't see more in the marketplace.
I yearn for solutions and messages that simplify. When I do, I'm delighted and grateful.
Unfortunately, I usually encounter the opposite.
For example, this made me cringe over the weekend.
I received an email from a large, well-established and extremely profitable financial institution I do business with. The message alerted me about needing to modify an account setting and included what seemed like straight-forward directions.
Do you know that the written instructions had nothing to do with the steps I wound up taking? What looked originally simple [expectation set], took considerably more time than expected and created negative feelings as I painstakingly figured out how to piece together a path for resolution.
[Here's another example: 3 Customer Experience Tips So You Don't Abuse Your Customers.]
My conclusion: no one at that institution bothered to go through the basics and experience what a customer would actually have to do. Simple marketing not done.
At the heart of simple marketing is a sincere desire to understand the world our customers live in, to appreciate the complexities and difficulties they face as they make decisions, and to determine how to simplify the process for them.
Simplifying decisions is a very happy-making solution as Bernd Schmitt explains in Happiness and Customer Experience: Interview with Bernd Schmitt. He specifically mentions simplicity as a value which brings happiness to customers.
Furthermore, as I detailed in Simplicity Matters in Brand Marketing: BRITE Conference 2012, "people will pay for relationships which are simpler to understand and more direct to the tune of a "simplicity premium" that ranges from 2.5 to 5.5%!" Yes, a premium because you make life simpler and easier for customers!
I bet you pay attention to the retail experiences which have made life simple for you. Here are a few examples which come to mind:
- Did you know that you can download the Staples Easy Button for simple shopping?
- I consider Target the model for clean, simple, effective in-store navigation signage [See Store Interior Branding Analysis: Sears vs. Target]
- IKEA Germany now offers dog parking areas so dog owning shoppers can explore the store without worrying about their pet.
- Zappos has a simple, no-worries return policy, offering peace-of-mind to online shoppers.
- Nufloors Coquitlam has umbrellas available so sales people can walk customers out when it rains [see Connecting With Customers: Nufloors Advice].
- TD Bank offers simplicity in its retail experience: easy and convenient access, products which are simple to use,
- Amazon reviews help customers obtain context and perspective before making a purchase [by the way, here are the top Amazon reviewers].
What other memorable retail experiences have you come across?
The common element to all of these stories is that these businesses have spent time getting back to basics; they have made sure to do a remarkable job delivering on those basics. Of course, the basics are meaningless unless they provide value to customers. That's the 'simple marketing' part of it...
How are you simplifying your retail experience? How are you creating a distinct difference for customers by helping them make sense of the complexity in your category?
I'd love to hear what you're doing.
Hat tip to David at BrandExperiential for thinking of me when he read Paring Down Marketing Messages to a Few Simple Basics.
You might also enjoy previous articles I've written with Simplifiers and Simplicity in mind: